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Hiking in Grand County with Pine Beetle Killed Trees - by Ron Owens

During our beautiful summer months I enjoy spending priceless moments hiking our scenic mountain trails and camping out under our night sky which explodes into countless stars and galaxies. This summer are you planning on doing similar activities? If so, you should be aware of what Mary Ann Chambers, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service's Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization, recently said about the many dead lodge pole trees in our local forests: "Its a dangerous situation". The danger is caused by the many pine beetle killed trees in our forests that are susceptible to falling down because of rotting root systems. In fact, the national forest service estimates that 100,000 trees fall each day in our national western forests. Denver Post: "Campsite's Opening Teetering Amid Threat of Beetle-Damaged Trees", 5-12-2010. This situation is expected to be with us for the next several years. The opportunity to enjoy and explore our nearby forests, streams, mountain trials and campgrounds make Winter Park the special place it is. I encourage you to experience our wonderful outdoor mountain paradise. But, please heed the words of Ms. Kyle Patterson, spokeswoman for the Rocky Mountain National Park: "people need to be responsible for their own actions". Falling trees have been added to the Park's bulletin of "High Country Hazards" which includes: mountain lions, bears, hypothermia, lightening, avalanches, etc. as dangerous potential threats when visiting our beautiful forests. In other words, always be aware of your surroundings and weather conditions when spending time in our forests. In short, if it gets windy pay close attention to the potential of falling trees! As of the date of this blog no list (either federal or state) has been released for 2010 showing the campgrounds that will be closed and, for what length of time. The Forest Service has stated that they will post such a list by Memorial Day - May 31st. Last year over 32 Colorado campgrounds were closed for various periods of time. More campgrounds are predicted to be closed this year. For the latest campground closure information and to make a reservation, please visit the following websites: For Federal Campgrounds For State Campgrounds

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